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It’s All About Attitude: Thoughts from Oteil

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Meet Oteil Burbridge –

I’ve come to a new place in my outlook towards work that I wish I had committed to long ago. It’s all about my attitude onstage or in the studio. You often hear people say, “You want to play every gig like its your last”, and it almost becomes cliché’. But what if it really was your last? Well if it really is, then I want it to be a peak experience: joyful, sensitive, powerful, subtle, comical, serious, meaningful (at least from my end). I say this last bit because I cannot control what any given band mate’s experience is going to be. If they’re in a bad mood, or generally just don’t care that day, then there’s nothing I can do. But that shouldn’t keep me from trying to hit that mark myself. And who knows, if I do my job right, they too might get swept up in the joy of it and join me. And, I find that people want to hire me more often because having a joyful experience is infectious. Joy is the best drug there is. In the past I have not been as successful at maintaining a positive attitude at all times. Although I sometimes wish that I could go back and change that, the best I can do is to do better going forward.

Being a human is so hard sometimes and so many things can derail us from even trying to be consistent about having a joyful attitude on the job. There’s no doubt too that there are some obstacles outside of ourselves that stand in the way of this ideal and cannot actually be overcome. In the past I have quit situations like that and paid dearly for it monetarily, but not before trying to help change the problems that are hanging me up. Sometimes it’s impossible to quit certain situations depending on what your financial responsibilities are at the time. If you have a good paying, steady gig, a wife and three kids, and a complete jerk for a boss, then you might not be able to leave so easily. But remember joy is infectious. You may have to use the “kill them with kindness” strategy and be joyful in the midst of their misery. Remember, it’s not their last gig that is the subject here, it’s yours. Also, I know that sometimes you can be in the midst of a bad circumstance on a given day yourself and there may seem like there’s no joy in sight, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a powerful and meaningful experience anyway.

Say a loved one has passed on and I’m smack in the middle of grieving for them as I head to work, then I will consider a couple of different ideas. Grief is a powerful and meaningful emotion in music, and it will be totally appropriate if we’re playing the Blues or any sad song. Maybe someone in the audience is grieving too and will really connect with you, and find some healing and relief for a few moments. I know that the person who has passed on would want me to experience joy this particular day because they loved me and would hope the best for me. I would want to pass on some joy and meaning to others as a tribute to the person who has passed. Grief can be fuel, a catalyst, an invitation to a deeper connection with each other.

Or perhaps I’ve just had a major fight with a loved one and come to the gig with a lot of anger. If I was on drums I might just use it as fuel until it dissipated, but as a bassist I’m much more likely to take a deep breath and seek that joyful feeling to replace the anger. Sometimes I might bang on the drums a little before I go to my gig and get out my frustration ahead of time. Not only would I would feel better, but I would be thinking more clearly, and probably be apt to go and apologize and reconcile much sooner than normal. And I would have had a great gig in the meantime. Music can be one of the best healers there is; it has changed my attitude many times. My friend and band mate Mark Kimbrell has the unique ability to use even anger in his playing. Whatever he feels at any given moment is likely to come flying out of his guitar. I’ll never forget once when we were playing a small nightclub; there wasn’t much of a stage and consequently not much separation from the audience. This is not so bad unless the audience members start to get drunk. A rather intoxicated woman kept approaching Mark in the middle of his solo, screaming what I assume were song requests. He tried his best to ignore her but was unsuccessful. Finally he got so mad that he aimed the headstock of his guitar right at her, turned up really loud and literally cussed her out with his guitar. It was one of the most amazing things I have ever seen. The entire band was laughing hysterically.

If I know someone in the band is being a real jerk, is losing a battle with addiction, etc., maybe that is a gig that I need to turn down. If it’s just for one night, or a short stint I could probably get through it if they can. If it’s a long-term commitment though, then its better if I turn that gig down in the beginning. At this point in my career, the gigs that I turn down are as important as the ones that I accept. I remember early in my career when I was artistically and financially starved, and my soon to be mentor Col. Bruce Hampton said to me, “You should come play with me. You’re still going to starve but we’re going to have an unbelievable time playing music”. And we did starve at first. But what a mind blowing experience it was! That gig eventually led to me getting the spot with the Allman Brothers Band. Even though I cast aside gigs that could have made me some decent money in the short run, the joy and magic that came out of my experience with the Col. led to much greater things in the long run.

Lately, the most important thing that I’ve realized is that each person in a band is affected in some way by the other’s attitude at that moment. I want to make sure that if it is the last gig I get to play then I want it to be as much of a peak experience as it can be for myself, the rest of the band, and the audience. Whether I am dealing with problems from within, or one of my band mates that is having troubles, then I know that there are tools that I can use to make the situation better and not just resign myself to feeling bad and just “getting through it”. Its important to remember that we are people’s relief from their own daily drudgery and what we do may help change someone else’s attitude in a positive way. I would hate to think that someone was not feeling so great and shelled out their hard earned money to watch me play only to see me up there with bad attitude. What a let down. Unfortunately, when you do this for a living, eventually it may feel like a job sometimes. I went through a lot over the last 28 years so that I wouldn’t be doing a job that I wasn’t really excited about. Its unfortunate that I let that happen in the past, but now that I am older I have a lot more gratitude about being able to live this life and I think it should show consistently.

Gear News

New Gear: Spector Doug Wimbish USA Custom Series Basses

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Doug Wimbish, pictured with the new Spector Doug Wimbish USA Custom Series basses

Spector offers Doug Wimbish USA Custom Series basses…

Spector, a leading authority in bass guitar design, unveils two new Doug Wimbish USA Custom Series basses. Synonymous with bass excellence since 1987, Wimbish collaborated with Spector’s USA Custom Shop to create the DW-4 and DW-5 models, echoing the iconic instruments that have been favored heavily throughout his recording and performing career.
 
These signature basses faithfully replicate Wimbish’s originals, down to the smallest details like neck contours and nut widths. Customized EMG pickups, developed in collaboration with Wimbish, capture the distinctive sound that has shaped his monumental musical impact. These models invite players to explore the feel and response that have defined Wimbish’s signature style over the years.
 
Available in 4-string and 5-string versions, each model boasts unique features & finish options. The DW-4 comes in Amber Stain Gloss and Black Stain Gloss options, while the DW-5 offers Dark Blue Stain Gloss and Faded Natural Gloss. Every purchase includes a certificate of authenticity signed by Doug Wimbish. Wimbish comments, “Spector took the time to get every little nuance right, and that to me is dedication and being thoughtful enough to know ‘I want to nail it,’ and they did. I’m able to pick these instruments up for the first time and play them like I’ve already had them for years.”

For more information, visit spectorbass.com/doug-wimbish-usa-signature-series/.

Photo: Doug Wimbish, pictured with the new Spector Doug Wimbish USA Custom Series basses

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Bass CDs

New Campaign: Alberto Rigoni, Nemesis Call – Queens Of Strings

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New Campaign: Alberto Rigoni, Nemesis Call - Queens Of Strings

Italian bass master and composer ALBERTO RIGONI is thrilled to announce his brand new project “Nemesis Call – Queens Of Strings”.

Nemesis Call – Queens Of Strings features a super talented drummer from Japan (TBA) and tons of female guitarists such as SAKI, Giusy Busetto, Alexandra Zerner (TBC) and many many others (TBA). Furthermore, Alberto has also launched a Fundraising Campaign for the project. 20% of the income will be donated to Lega del Filo d’Oro legadelfilodoro.it/it, an Italian association that helps deaf and blind children!

Alberto shares:
“Hello friends and music lovers! I’m Alberto Rigoni, an Italian composer and.. a BASS GUY! Between 2008 and 2024 I released 13 solo albums, spanning from progressive, rock, ambient to funky and experimental music, which also features contributions from musicians such as keyboard wizard Jordan Rudess (Dream Theater) drummer Gavin Harrison (Porcupine Tree) and Marco Minnemann (the Aristocrats), keyboardist Kevin Moore (ex Dream Theater), singer John Jeff Soto (ex  Goran Edman (ex Y. Malmsteen), bassists Nathan East, Stu Hamm (Joe Satriani), Nik West (ex Prince) and many others. I’m also bass player for BAD As, Sunset Groove Society, Kim Bingham, The Italians bands and co-producer of Mistheria’s Vivaldi Metal Project.”

Alberto on the new project Nemesis Call:
“Even if my latest album “Unexpected Lullabies”, dedicated to my newborn Vittoria Parini Rigoni, will be released on June 4th, 2024, when Vittoria came to life I felt the need to compose new music (yes, I really can’t stop!!!!!). This time will be quite challenging because I’m willing to release an instrumental ambient/prog/rock/metal album, that will feature a talented and young drummer (TBA) and tons of female guitarists (that’s why I will call the album “Queens of the Strings”) such as Alexandra Zerner, YOKA and many others (TBA/TBC)). It won’t be easy to manage all such great musicians but I will make it!! Are you ready to face a new prog experience? The album will be released in Digipack CD and in high-quality digital format approximately at the beginning of 2025.”

The Fundraising Campaign:
As an independent artist, Alberto is looking for supporters who can help him reach the budget for the production (recordings, mix, mastering, artwork etc.) of this new album and has started this fundraising campaign that will end successfully on October 15th, 2024.

Get further information about Alberto Rigoni’s new project Nemesis Call Fundraising campaign at albertorigoni.net/nemesiscal

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Bass Videos

Artist Update With Bassist Derek Frank

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Artist Update With Bassist Derek Frank

Bassist Derek Frank…

Many of you will remember the last time I chatted with Derek Frank was back in 2017. The main thing that impressed me was how busy Derek was and how he juggled playing with many huge acts.

Now, I am happy to hear that Derek launched a new album last March titled “Origin Story” where he digs deep into his roots and pays homage to Pittsburg.

Join me as we get caught up after all these years and hear the details about the new album, how Derek gets his sound, and his plans for the future.

Photo, Stephen Bradley

Visit Online:

www.derekfrank.com
www.instagram.com/derekfrankbass
www.youtube.com/derekfrankbass
www.facebook.com/derekfrankbass

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This Week’s Top 10 Basses on Instagram

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TOP 10 Basses of the week

Check out our top 10 favorite basses on Instagram this week…

Click to follow Bass Musician on Instagram @bassmusicianmag

FEATURED @foderaguitars @bqwbassguitar @lecomptebass @xvector_basses @vuorensaku_guitars @phdbassguitars @meridian_guitars @sterlingbymusicman @ramabass.ok @overwaterbasses

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Gear News

New Gear: Alberto Rigoni Signature Bass, the VPR5 by Gaetano Costanzo!

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Internationally renowned bassist ALBERTO RIGONI (soloist, BAD AS, Vivaldi Metal Project, TwinSpirits, etc.) is proud to announce the release of his signature bass VPR5 made by renowned Italian luthier Gaetano Costanzo!

Alberto Rigoni Signature Bass, the VPR5 by Gaetano Costanzo!

Internationally renowned bassist ALBERTO RIGONI (soloist, BAD AS, Vivaldi Metal Project, TwinSpirits, etc.) is proud to announce the release of his signature bass VPR5 made by renowned Italian luthier Gaetano Costanzo!

The bass is entirely handmade in Italy, without the use of CNC or other machinery, and has rather special features. The VPR is a 5-string bass (but also available as a 4-string) with 30 frets, Seymour Duncan pickups, Music Man Alnico style, passive electronics (volume, tone and a switch to select series/parallel/single-coil mode), alder body, and American maple neck and fingerboard. Gotoh tuners that ensure perfect intonation. The bass is totally painted white (nitro finish) but other colors can be requested. The VPR has a weight of about 2.9 kg and suitable for any genre.

For more information contact Gaetanobass77@gmail.com or visit online at www.instagram.com/gaetanocostanzoluthier or www.facebook.com/GaetanoCostanzoLuthier

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